2° Below Winter Ale - New Belgium Brewing

Not Rated.
2° Below Winter Ale2° Below Winter Ale

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564 Reviews
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Reviews: 564
Hads: 1,168
Avg: 3.66
pDev: 18.03%
Wants: 24
Gots: 90 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
New Belgium Brewing visit their website
Colorado, United States

Style | ABV
Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB) |  6.60% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-23-2005

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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 564 | Hads: 1,168
Photo of ybnorml
4.33/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A clean yellow/orange colored beer. Has a nice smooth creamy white head and lacing that looks like a milk mustache . The aroma has a strong spicy hop character and an light biscuit malt note with a hint of clove in the background. The start of the taste begins with a light biscuit malt note on the front of your tongue. Followed by that nice spicy hop character on the back edges of your tongue and mouth. That leads to a crisp and refreshing finish.

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Photo of RJLarse
4.33/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I picked up a six pack of 2° Below Winter Ale at a grocery store. I had seen it on the shelves for a couple of weeks, and figured to give it a try. I poured this beer in to a pint tumbler.

Pours a rich amber color and is crystal clear. A foamy three finger off whit head forms and is very resilient. The head is rocky and created ridges and valleys as is breaks down. There are curtains of lace on the side of the glass.

The smell is floral and fruity. There are fruit fragrances like peaches, and some evergreen scents like Juniper.

The taste is very good. Some roasted caramel malt flavor and a multi-dimensional, zippy, bitter hop taste. The flavors are difficult to describe and well balanced.

The mouthfeel is light crisp and clean.

This is a very drinkable beer. They say it has a warming aftertaste, and is a winter ale, but it would be good year around. This is a nice easy drinking, full flavored, hopped up brew. I will definitely be having more of this beer.

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Photo of johnyeast
4.32/5  rDev +18%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Amber in color with a slight white head. Smells of sweet tarts. A slight hint of hops and flowery notes last. First taste is not as tart as one would seem, but the bite of hops is there. This beer warms the belly. A highly drinkable offering from New Belgium that changes with each taste. As the beer gets warmer and is exposed to more air, the more it develops or becomes more complex. 3rd taste. It's starting to settle down. Not as much of a bite. This year's version is better than last year. Much better. This time of year in FC, this beer is a great choice.

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Photo of drseamus
4.32/5  rDev +18%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2 below pours a nice amber color with a full finger of pure white head that falls within half a minute or so. In hind sight I don't know what I was thinking, but when I saw a winter label with the name 2 below, i expected a spiced ale. Clearly I forgot that Peter runs things over there and there is no such thing as style or expectations. Even before I get the beer to my nose I can smell the pungent piney aroma of hops. I was surprised by the taste though. I expected it to be all hops, but it was actually more balanced than I would have expected. The taste of hops were there, but it was more the floral taste and aroma than the regular bite of the bitterness of hops. There is a sweet matliness that attempts to balance the hops and only falls a little short. Personally, I think that this is labeled incorrectly as a ESB and I think Peter would agree, although he would disagree with the labeling in general and I would disagree with only the specific label applied. If you enjoy the flavor of hops, you're gonna want to drink this beer. I just might do the same again.

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Photo of endincolorado
4.3/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Clear amber color with nice, frothy off-white head, good head retention and moderate lace.

Aromas of fragrant floral hops with some grassiness and inviting, bready, caramel malt.

Flavor is delicious, with a some clean fruity flavors that remind me of melon and grass, as well as a crisp, flavorful biscuitty malt character.

medium body- creamy and satisfying. Appropriate carbonation.

Would love some more if it were more readily available in Ohio. A greatly balanced session beer.

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Photo of JamnesCameron
4.3/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a New Belgium globe.

Pours a clear copper, with a nice off white head that drops fairly quickly. Good lacing.

Aromas of bread, earthy hops, flowery and fruity.

First sip is of earthy and floral hops, sweet biscuity malt, a hint of juicy fruit gum. Short bitter finish. A bit of a carbonic bite.

Mouthfeel is chewy, medium bodied, with a light prickle of carbonation.

Very drinkable winter warmer, with an american hop touch. Good to sip next to a fire on a cold winter night.

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Photo of TCMike
4.3/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Good stuff. Poured into a mug. The aroma is medium, and of a typical ale, but with a piny hops note. The head was only 1 finger, and dissipated quickly. It was a medium gold color. The taste starts out with a good ale flavor, and then a few extra spices thrown in, followed by a medium piny taste. The hops, although, obviously present in a good portion, did not produce much bitterness. This is a very drinkable beer. Think Fat Tire with less malt, and mor hops.

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Photo of jadpsu
4.3/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a bright and crystal clear copper with a nice off brown head, with slightly better than average retention, along with decent side lace.
S: pine and floral hops most prominant, along with some roasted malts showing up.
Taste: Toasty, bready malts, a little sweet up front, then finishes with some piny hops along with a hint of caramel.
Well balanced, enjoyed this one, very drinkable.

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Photo of bonsreeb85
4.3/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

always a favorite local seasonal of mine, finally going to give it a rating, here she goes...

A - clean and clear copper with good head retention and lacing

S - rich caramel malt,apples, butterscotch, nuts and a light kiss of floral hops.

T - very nutty and produces a light sweetness intitialy. just enough hops on the follow through. balance is sublime.

MF - medium bodied and low on carbonation

D - this brew continues to be a winter warmer favorite of mine. exceptional balance and flavor make this a no-brainer winter season session brew!

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Photo of TheJollyHop
4.3/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This winter beer smells of resiny pine, with some malt sweetness.

Pours a deep amber with a one finger head; nice lacing left behind.

Initial bitterness fades to a very pleasant sweetness. There is a hint of alcohol warming at the end. Notes of spice and orange, with some hints of biscuit. This beer is very well balanced. The alcohol is very well masked, and the upfront hoppiness is perfectly matched by some subtle, lingering sweetness. Carbonation is low/medium which transcends to a silky smooth mouthfeel. There is some tang at the end of the swallow from the hops. When I was sensing for particular toasted notes I was able to find them, however I probably wouldn't have noticed them had I not been trying to look for them.

Overall, this beer is the perfect winter seasonal. A little bite with some equal sweetness. Definitely conjures up some feelings of warmth and happiness.

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Photo of bgraney
4.3/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Clear honey/amber, lots of bubbles, thin white, creamy head.
Bready/biscuit malt aroma with citrusy hop background.
Excellent flavor combination. The maltiness rests on the front of the tongue and the bitter on the back. Like liquid bread with orange or apricot marmalade.
Medium mouthfeel. The flavors have a nice long rest on the tongue without expanding into the nose.
The flavors are not so overwhelming that you can't keep drinking these. Keep'em comin!
An excellent, very well balanced beer.

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Photo of dcook11
4.3/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed out of a pint glass on a semi-chilly November night. I've had this beer out of both a pint glass and a snifter, but I am now reviewing out of the pint.
A- An aggressive pour reveals 2 below to be a medium orange color with a two finger head and fantastic spider web lacing. Fine bubbles are present and rise to the top of the glass to contribute to head formation. The head itself is soapy and the lacing is reminiscent of sea foam splattered on the side of a dock. The carbonation is light to medium bodied and begins to dissipate about five minutes after the actual pour. The beer looks very nice in the glass and is very close to being rated a five.

S- Although the snifter reveals more smell, the pint glass does an adequate job of capturing this ESB's pineyness and malt sweetness. The initial sniff reveals a moderate hop aroma that is reminiscent of fresh pine. This pineyness is followed by a malt/cherry odor that seems to almost blend together. The smell is a winner mainly due to its uncanny balance between malt sweetness and hop spice. A definite winner and very sessionable,

T- Hop burn fades into cherry and malt with a very slight bitterness at the termination. The cheery is almost a candied cherry in that it is artificial. Although pleasant, the taste begs one to make the distinction.

M- The mouth feel is light, approaching medium bodied. Very easy drinking, mostly because of how balanced this beer is.

D- The overall balance of this beer make it very drinkable as the hops and the malt blend very well together. The cherry flavor and the bitterness on termination add to the overall enjoyment of the beer.

Although not very complex, 2 below provide the drinker with an enjoyable session due mostly to its impeccable balance and drink ability. Definitely a great choice for fall and winter nights.

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Photo of 1050Sudz
4.3/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

2 Below Winter Ale

This beer, as most New Belgium productions, is very well presented.
It pours nicely, leaving a moderately thick head.
It does not look or smell like an ESB, but offers a fantastic malty flavor packed with strong alcohol, winter wonders, and hoppy flavor that leaves a lasting impression.
2 Below is an easy drinker that carries a heavy load.
It is now my favorite New Belgium!

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Photo of Atron67
4.3/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I really like this bitter, a smooth lightly malty and sharp hop bite at the end that is really delicious. a great sipper that i wish was more available around here. a definite huge winner from new belgium. crisp hop presence gives a really nice lingering character.

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Photo of StaveHooks
4.28/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - A solid 2 finger off-white head rests on top of a brilliant amber hued body. Thick vertical strips of lacing.

S - Huge cracker based malt, sesame seeds, pine nuts, toasted white bread, almonds, and berry fruit.

T - Excellent cracker malt, with notes of toffee, Granny smith apple peels, butterscotch, and caramel. A slight tang of citrus plays with carbonation to add a zesty bite. Citrus blends with hints of pine to add a freshness. Some nuttiness pokes it's head in. Finishes with a sweet caramel sweetness but has a spicy back to balance everything out.

M - Medium body, perfect carbonation for the style.

The malt is super complex with variations of breads, cracker, and simple caramel to make this beer a standout. The hops play their role but don't get in the way of the excellent malts. This is a must try if you like ESB's!...or any beer. I can't say enough about the malt profile.

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Photo of goochpunch
4.27/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a copper amber body with rather active carbonation and a thick off white head that settles down to some peaks and plateaus along with lacing all over the place. Hops hit me in the nose first off. Lots of grassy, herbal, and floral aromas. Following that is a whiff of butter followed by smells of bread, both fresh and toasted. Flavor is big on herbal hops up front, with an underlying fruity ester quality. Something about the mix of the hops and malt flavors remind me of watermelon bubblegum just for a second. Follows through with some bready malts and toasted notes. Finishes dry, slightly bitter, with a little alcohol kick and slight astringency. Herbal hop flavor sticks through the entire way. Mouthfeel is amazing. Smooth and of moderate body. This is dangerously drinkable, especially at its alcohol level.

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Photo of BrewmasterNPB
4.27/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a refreshing change of pace for most winter brews out there. The Malt flavor is awesome, it's clean but has plenty of flavor. Good balance of toastiness and sweetness. Just enough hops for me, perhaps a little low for the style, but I think that's what the beer is going for.

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Photo of Zorro
4.25/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The first thing I noticed about this the moment I poured this is its excellent good looks. Clear amber colored ale with strong orange tint to it. Good thick and fluffy tan colored head.

Smell is strongly of hops. Malty with a strongly citrus scented hops kick in the nostrils. Lesser hop scents of menthol, tobacco, leather and tea. Toasted grain and malt aroma mostly caramel, vanilla and faint coffee.

Taste is mildly malty and hoppy and woody at the start. Wood and citrus are mostly what I taste in this good amount of grapefruit and a little bit of a bitter snap in the finish. This pretty much stays a dry woody and hoppy beer, a very nice beer.

Mouthfeel is full.

Very easy to drink, tasty yet not punishing.

A good tasty and hoppy winter ale. This is a very good choice for the time after you have had your fill of too much sweet from you usual winter warmers. Hoppier than you would think, you burp after one of these and you will know it!

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Photo of champ103
4.25/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: A clear copper/orange color. One finger white foamy head that thins pretty fast and leaves a good coat of lace.
S: Very aromatic. Typical citrus hops and bready malt smell for an ESB, but there are also some interesting spices thrown in that I can't pin down right now.
T: Very similar to the nose. New Belgium's signature bread/biscuit malt flavor is present, but very well balanced with a nice hop presents that has just the right amount of bitterness to it. Those holiday spices work well with this ESB.
M/D: A bit thin and watery, but not a bad mouth feel. Very smooth and easy to drink though.

I don't think a lot of breweries make a winter seasonal out of an ESB. New Belgium did and I think it worked great. This is a wonderful beer that I would recommend.

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Photo of Hoptometrist
4.25/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Served from the bottle into a goblet.

A- Poured a mostly clear dark orange color, some visible carbonation with soapy off-white head that left some splashy lace.

S- Big floral, grassy, and citrusy hops. Big biscuit malt, toffee, cereal malt, and caramel sweetness.

T- Big biscuit and cereal malt notes, big floral, grassy, citrusy, and piney hope, quite a bit of caramel sweetness, toffee, bready, and light spice esters from the yeast. Moderate to high bitterness on the finish. with a big lingering hop finish.

M- Prickly carbonation, medium to lighter bodied, and semi-dry finish.

O- This winter ale has a ton of hop character and big malt backbone that really balance each other out well. Reminded me a little bit of a much maltier version of Celebration Ale, it seemed like the hop profile and hop bite was pretty similar.

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Photo of electricfields
4.23/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a clear medium-dark amber color with a bubbly, creamy head. Leaves a good amount of lacing on the glass.

S: Smells sort of like Fat Tire. Lots of bready malts, but a little sweeter, with a little bit of spice but nothing overtly "wintery," thankfully.

T: Mild bitter hops balanced really well with sweet nutty malts. A little bit of alcohol comes through in the finish.

M: Medium body. Carbonation is good and stays around for quite a while. I generally don't like this much of it, but it's good here.

D: This is probably one of New Belgium's best beers. While it probably wouldn't be great for a session beer at 6.6% ABV, it tastes good enough you'll never want to use it as one anyway.

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Photo of BeerManDan
4.23/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

When poured it was clear light copper in color with very little white foam, but a fair amount of lace on the glass. The smell of an evergreen aroma was evident with a hint of spice and fruit.

The taste was still of an evergreen flavor, along with roasted malts and hints of sweet fruits and spices. This was not an overpowering winter ale, very enjoyable. The hop's were not super bitter or tart. I really enjoy this winter ale.

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Photo of slargthorb
4.23/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Served in a beer glass like 99% of the beer I drink.
A: Looks medium dark with orangy, reddish hues ( damn, I almost sound like I know what I'm talking about)
S: Smells like Fat Tire (which I love)
T: Tastes like Fat Tire but even toastier and with more alcohol noticable. TASTY!
M: Not too thick - also with the slight creaminess ala Fat Tire
D: I'm loving this; Yes!

This brings me to a comment on Fat Tire bashing. One of the things which makes beer snobs such bores is how they will bash some beer seemingly just because it's become so popular. Fat Tire is loved by many knowledgeable beer 'advocates', and deservedly(sp?) so.
Anyway, New Belgium is making some lovely beers, and this is certainly one of them!

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Photo of merryjoulton
4.22/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a high clarity golden yellow maybe a hint of amber. The head is tight and foamy, nice lacing down the glass as well. Nose is very sweet and fruity, the hops are intermingled with the sweetness which is a nice effect. Taste is also pretty sweet and sticky hoppy. Not too bitter, but bitter enough. Malt backdrop is nice as well.

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Photo of Imstillthegman
4.22/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear amber with a quickly diminishing white head. Nice rings of lacing remain.

This beer smells like a hop biscuit. Doughy malts envelope the green (pine, grass, and light citrus) hops. Wish the local bakery would offer something like this...just think about it, a hop biscuit...yum.

The taste is a fine blend sweet and spicy. The hops show a spicy side not noted in the aroma while the malts show up as sweet, doughy biscuits. Not exactly what I was thinking of when I saw this was an ESB, but darn tasty.

Medium body with a good level of carbonation. Slick, creamy feel on the tongue. This brew is one "winter warmer" I could drink all year long. New Belgium, when are you coming east?

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2° Below Winter Ale from New Belgium Brewing
83 out of 100 based on 564 ratings.